Top Coins See Mixed Signals, Mostly Trading Sideways

Wednesday, Nov. 7: most major coins are slightly down today, with Bitcoin (BTC) holding on to this week’s growth. The markers are seeing mixed signals as of press time, with most top coins trading sideways, up or down by around one percent.

Market visualization from Coin360

Market visualization from Coin360

BTC is up 1.3 percent over the last 24 hours, and trading at around $6,527 at press time. The leading digital currency have seen insignificant volatility during the day, having dropped to as low as $6,441, while the intraday high reached $6,531. In terms of a weekly view, BTC has jumped by more than 3 percent, with $6,304 as its lowest price point on Nov. 1.

Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap ​​​​​​​

Ethereum (ETH) is up 0.16 percent on the day, hovering at around $218 at press time. The second largest altcoin has seen small volatility over the day, with $215 as its lowest price point, and $221 as the highest at press time. Yesterday, ETH won back its position as the second largest cryptocurrency with a market capitalization from Ripple (XRP), which had briefly overtaken ETH as largest altcoin by market cap.

Ethereum 24-hour price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap​​​​​​​

Ethereum 24-hour price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

XRP has experienced slight losses during the last 24 hours, dropping by 1.35 percent and trading at $0.534 at press time. On Nov. 6, XRP surged by almost 10 percent on the day, which resulted in it briefly overtaking ETH in terms of market cap. On its weekly chart, XRP is up more than 19 percent.

Ripple 24-hour price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Ripple 24-hour price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Of the top 20 cryptocurrencies, Stellar (XLM), TRON, Ethereum Classic (ETC), and DASH have seen biggest drops at press time by around 2 percent, according to CoinMarketCap.

Total market capitalization is over $219 billion, with an intraday high of $221 billion. Over the week, total market cap has been gradually raising from its lowest point around $203 on Nov. 1.

Total market capitalization weekly chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Total market capitalization weekly chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Meanwhile, an interdepartmental team set up by the governor of the Bank of Israel to “examine the issue of central bank digital currencies,” has recommended that the country’s central bank not issue its own token in the near future. The team outlined the necessity of further investigation “before there are proper grounds for a decision to recommend issuing digital currency.”

The Financial Services Commission (FSC) of the Republic of Mauritius has released a draft regulatory framework for crypto custodian services as the country aims to establish regulation for custodian services for digital assets. The FSC will issue a custodian service license that will allow an entity to operate as a holder of digital assets as well as to function as safe keeper of the assets.

Bank of Israel Doesn’t Recommend Launching Bank-Backed e-Shekel

The central bank of Israel has published a summary of the work of its interdepartmental team to examine central bank digital currency and its eventual use in the country’s financial system. The research found there are no proper grounds for a decision to recommend issuing digital currency as of yet.

Israel’s Central Bank Report Weighs Benefits and Risks of Issuing Own Digital Currency, e-Shekel

A team established by Karnit Flug, Governor of the Bank of Israel, examined the issue of central bank digital currencies (CBDC), only to conclude the work group doesn’t recommend the issuance of its own CBDC in the near future.

The document argues that it is necessary to continue examining the field and to follow developments around the world before any change of stance.

No advanced economy has yet issued a digital currency for broad use, although a few central banks in those countries are in advanced stages of examining the feasibility of issuing their own digital currency. The Swedish government has recently published a report calling for the expected launch date of the e-krona to be brought forward. Issuing a CDBC in Sweden could prevent citizens from searching for “means of payment” services provided by “private agents,” the document argued.

The Bank of Israel, however, does not feel threatened by the current disruption caused by the cashless society and the cryptocurrency market as the “issue is not relevant to Israel at this time.”

“The document presents the main objectives that issuing CBDC may have. One of those objectives is maintaining the public’s access to the central bank’s liability, in the event that the use of cash declines significantly as is happening in Sweden. However, this issue is not relevant to Israel at this time. Another motivation for issuing an e-shekel may be to support the payments system (including improved redundancy) and make payments more efficient. Under certain specifications, and particularly if it bears interest, the e-shekel can be an additional monetary tool, but that is not a main objective of issuing it.”

The central bank added there is no uniform specification for central bank digital currencies, from its accessibility, the method of issuance, the extent of anonymity in its use, and whether it will bear interest. The team studied the advantages, disadvantages, and risks inherent in each option. The team found a number of material and technological difficulties and risks in the issuance of CBDC, mostly regarding the impact on the central bank and financial system.

The team, which will continue to study the issue and follow developments around the world, listed a number of benefits of issuing an e-shekel, including the fight against the unreported economy and its use to advance the technological environment and the fintech sector.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

Virtual Land on Ethereum-Based Decentraland Sold for $215,000


Virtual Land on Ethereum-Based Decentraland Sold for $215,000


An unnamed user or organization has recently acquired an estate on Decentraland, a virtual reality (VR) platform developed on the Ethereum blockchain, for $215,000. The estate was a 126-parcel piece of LAND, and set a new record for the platform.

As first pointed out by Twitter user DCLBlogger, someone used the virtual project’s built-in marketplace to buy the estate with 2.7 million of the platform’s native MANA tokens.

LAND parcels are non-fungible digital assets maintained through a smart contract on the Ethereum network. These represent actual land in a 3-D virtual world that its owners will be able to use for whatever they want to once it goes live. Said virtual world has finite space, and in it each LAND token represents one 10m2 parcel.

Once Decentraland goes live later this year on early next year, users will be able to use VR to explore it and interact with applications other users have built. While the platform is expected to be a few major releases away from going live, things are moving quickly.

A partnership between Decentraland and the Ripio Credit Network (RCN), a borderless peer-to-peer crypto lending network, has recently also made it possible for the virtual world’s users to use their tokens to take out mortgages. To register for one, according to a Medium blog post, they’ll have to complete a short application and put down at least 10% of the property’s value.

Once they do, a decentralized application (dApp) will publish a request so lenders can claim the mortgage at interest ranges that can reportedly go up to nearly 80%. Once a lender claims the request, partial ownership is transferred to the purchaser, who will be able to use it.

If the borrower goes into default, the lender may gain full ownership of the parcel. Commenting on its partnership with Decentraland RCN’s CEO Sebastian Serrano stated:

The partnership between RCN and Decentraland — two of the most promising Ethereum-based projects — is one of the first examples that highlights how different smart contracts-based applications can work together. At RCN we drive our efforts to connect lenders and borrowers and offer them. Doing so in virtual reality is an exciting new horizon.

As CryptoGlobe covered, Decentraland is also developing a “strategic role playing game” called Chainbreakers. Decentraland’s native MANA token is currently trading at $0.078 after rising nearly 3% in the last 24 hours.

Bitcoin Mining ’50 Times More Useful’ – Barry Silbert Rebuts Energy Cost vs. Gold


Bitcoin Mining ’50 Times More Useful’ – Barry Silbert Rebuts Energy Cost vs. Gold

Cryptocurrency industry figures continue to hit back at negative stories about Bitcoin mining in mainstream media, Barry Silbert claiming mining Bitcoin was “50 times more useful” than gold.

What’s In A Number?

In a tweet November 6, the Digital Currency Group founder and CEO rebutted claims over Bitcoin mining which originally surfaced in the Nature International Journal of Science.

In it, researchers allege mining Bitcoin 00 is three times more expensive than gold, while the total emissions for mining the four largest cryptocurrencies by market cap between January 2016 and June 2018 lay anywhere between 3 and 15 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.

The findings were widely reported by mainstream media publications, including MarketWatch, which led with a headline focusing on the financial costs of Bitcoin mining.

Silbert, who like many social media commentators appeared irked by the report, retaliated, saying that the usefulness of minting new cryptocurrency outweighed that of new gold fifty times over.

The Scourge Of ‘Research’ on Bitcoin Mining

While his argument received critiques of its own, the episode underlines to continuing battle the cryptocurrency industry faces regarding both research and media coverage of its growth.

At the end of last month, a separate report into Bitcoin’s purported impact on climate change also received widespread coverage.

Investigating, Bitcoin Core developer Nic Carter soon unearthed what he described as “naive assumptions” about Bitcoin’s energy usage which he then extrapolated to demonstrate the ‘Bitcoin network’ the report analyzed does not exist.

Mining Farms Opening Around the World

Among the characteristics of Bitcoin which researchers claimed would contribute to 2-degree rises in global warming are 3.2 gigabyte block sizes, fixed (not decreasing) issuance and the complete absence of all level-two technology such as the Lightning Network.

“That major mainstream media organizations are reporting on this is a scathing indictment of the MSM. It’s simply fake news; to publish is either incompetence or fraud,” he commented.

What do you think about the latest research into Bitcoin mining costs? Let us know in the comments below!

Images courtesy of Shutterstock

Bitstamp Partners with Cinnober to Boost Crypto Trading

Bitstamp, a Luxembourg-based cryptocurrency exchange, and Cinnober, a global independent provider of trading and clearing technology for the financial sector, recently partnered to increase the Bitstamp platform’s order matching speed and throughput. According to Bistamp’s blog post, published on November 5, 2018, Cinnober’s TRADExpress Trading System will replace Bitstamp’s in-house developed matching engine.

Order Matching Speed Now 1250x Faster

Bitstamp, a cryptocurrency exchange formed in 2011 has quickly grown to become one of the largest exchanges by trading volume in the world. According to the Blockchain Transparency Institute Report, Bitstamp ranks 10 in the global cryptocurrency exchange list, with over 28,000 active users and over $77 million in cryptocurrency trading volume in a 24-hour time frame.

The Bitstamp post mentioned that upgrading their existing technology with TRADExpress will be a significant move and a crucial step in their mission to connect the cryptocurrency industry and traditional finance markets. The cryptocurrency exchange believes that the new matching mechanism will push the technological frontier in digital currency trading.

“While Bitstamp’s matching engine was already excellent by crypto standards, this will put us in the same league as traditional exchanges with decades of experience,” said David Osojnik, Bitstamp’s Chief Technology Officer. “Our platform’s order matching speed is expected to become 1250x faster, while throughput will increase by 400x.”

The cryptocurrency exchange will implement TRADExpress in a few phases. The first phase will occur in the first quarter of 2019. It will be performed entirely by the end of the second quarter. Bitstamp hopes that the rollout of TRADExpress will help it attract emerging traders as it will also increase their capacity and ability to provide additional services without any decline in performance.

Bitstamp Takes Safety and Security Seriously

Bitstamp chose Cinnober’s matching system because of the company’s strong track record, especially when it came to worldwide financial marketplaces with clients including the Asia Pacific Exchange, the Australian Securities Exchange, the Japan Exchange Group and many more. Cinnober also received an acquisition offer from Nasdaq in September 2018. While Cinnober’s board of directors recommended that the company should accept the acquisition agreement, the company has not completed the deal yet.

Furthermore, Cinnober also understood Bitstamp’s vision and were able to work closely with the cryptocurrency exchange to tweak and customize the technology to meet Bitstamp’s needs. Peter Lenardos, the CEO of the Cinnober Group, noted that Bitstamp’s decision to upgrade trading technology not only boosts Bitstamp’s performance and stability, it also shows that the exchange is firmly committed to the safety and security of the marketplace.

French Lawmakers to Lower Cryptocurrency Tax by 6 Percent

French lawmakers have adopted an amendment to the 2019 budget bill that will cut capital gains tax on bitcoin sales to 30 percent from 36.2 percent. This will bring cryptocurrency transactions in line with other non-real estate assets, which are taxed at a flat rate of 30 percent.

Also Read: Survey: South Africans Turn to Crypto as Hedge Against Volatility of the Rand

Amendment Awaits Approval by Parliament

The budget amendment was adopted by a finance commission in France’s lower house of parliament, a Reuters report said. But it must first be approved “in the final version of the budget bill by the broader parliament in order to become law.” If approved, the new tax will come into force in  January.

French Lawmakers to Lower Cryptocurrency Tax by 6 Percent

At one point, cryptocurrency taxes in Europe’s third largest economy reached 45 percent. In April, however, the Council of State said that gains generated from digital assets were to be considered as capital gains of movable property. That meant a significant slash in the tax rate, with the exception of earnings from cryptocurrency mining, which are taxed as non-commercial profits and income resulting from professional activity that is taxed as industrial and commercial profits.

Cryptocurrency Haven

Under president Emmanuel Macron, France is trying to transform itself into a haven for business, including the business of cryptocurrency. Earlier this year, Macron launched the Action Plan for Business Growth and Transformation (PACTE) which, among other things, aims to make it easy for companies to operate in France, and to lay out legal guidelines for fund raising via token sales.

French Lawmakers to Lower Cryptocurrency Tax by 6 Percent

In September, the French parliament passed a law setting out guidelines for initial coin offerings. Announcing the new legislation, finance minister Bruno Le Maire said at the time that the legal framework enables the French financial regulator Authorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) to approve and issue permits to businesses intending to float ICOs in France – but only if “those projects provide specific guarantees for investors.”

Issuers will be expected to give full disclosure to the AMF, allowing buyers to make informed decisions about the ICO in question. The French regulator has previously raised concern over the lack of clear regulation on token sales “as an inherent risk factor of ICOs,” heightening the possibility of loss, money laundering and terrorist financing.

What do you think of the French government’s approach to cryptocurrency? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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US CFTC Chairman: DLT Can Help Regulators Better Oversee Markets

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman Christopher Giancarlo said in a speech Nov. 7, that technological advances, including Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), could help regulators better oversee trading markets.

Giancarlo delivered his speech titled “Quantitative Regulation:  Effective Market Regulation in a Digital Era” at the FinTech Week conference at Georgetown University Law School. The chairman addressed emerging digital technologies, such as DLT, big data, automated data analysis, and artificial intelligence (AI), and their impact on trading markets and the financial landscape.

In terms of applying these technologies to trading markets, Giancarlo said that “we begin to see a world where the majority of standard tasks are managed by machines” since, combined with DLT, automation facilitates cost reduction and improves trade matching, processing, clearing and settlement.

Giancarlo suggested that higher-order computing technologies will likely become “ubiquitous” to commodity and financial derivatives markets. He said that the CFTC and other regulators will have to keep pace with the advance of AI in order to succeed.

Giancarlo further pointed out that the commission must be proactive in regulatory data collection, automated analysis, and data-driven policy application, and eventually become a “quantitative regulator.”

Speaking on the challenges presented by data automation and machines and their impact on labor markets, Giancarlo asserted that “being a quantitative regulator does not mean replacing human judgment and market intelligence; it means reinforcing it:”

“It means freeing agency staff from repetitive and low value tasks to focus on high value activities that require their expert judgment and domain knowledge. It means marshalling quality data that is efficiently and, perhaps, algorithmically analyzed upon which human judgement can be deployed, unfurled and expanded.”

The chairman suggested that DLT would help regulators analyze data, real-world outcomes, and success in satisfying regulatory objectives, “rather than rely on static rules and regulations that were put in place without knowing the consequences or results they would drive in the market.” He added:

“We can also envision the day where rulebooks are digitized, compliance is increasingly automated or built into business operations through smart contracts, and regulatory reporting is satisfied through real-time DLT networks.”

In July, Giancarlo outlined his agency’s interest in blockchain technology, emphasizing the need for the appropriate procedures that would enable the CFTC to examine innovative blockchain tech for potential future use cases. The chairman stated that there is a need for a legally sound, fast process of sharing information between the agency and fintech innovators, “especially in the area of blockchain.”

Taiwan Cracks Down on Anonymous Cryptocurrency Transactions

The government of Taiwan has recently cracked down on anonymous cryptocurrency transaction, as it reportedly ordered cryptocurrency exchanges operating in the country to identify their users through know-your-customer (KYC) checks.

According to Finance Magnates, the move was made by amending laws related to money laundering and terrorism finance. New regulations now allow local banks to reject anonymous transactions, which they should report to the country’s financial watchdog, the Financial Supervisory Commission.

Through a statement, Taiwan’s Ministry of Justice revealed that national laws regarding financial crimes hadn’t been amended for two years, and the changes will “align Taiwan more closely with the rest of the world.” To ensure these are enforced, fines of up to 50,000 yuan ($7,200) for individuals and 500,000 yuan ($72,000) for financial institutions have been introduced.

The move sees Taiwan follow in the footsteps of the EU Parliament, and of Japan’s Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA), which is now authorized as a self-regulatory body. South Korea has also banned cryptocurrency traders from using anonymous accounts, and cryptocurrency exchanges like Changelly have revealed they may withhold users’ XMR if they deem it necessary.

Despite Taiwan’s move Wellington Koo, the chairman of Taiwan’s Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC), has revealed the country doesn’t plan on following in the footsteps of some of its neighbors – South Korea and China – and ban initial coin offerings (ICOs).

Nevertheless, some believe China’s crackdown on cryptocurrencies is influencing Taiwan. While the region is fully self-governing, the People’s Republic claims sovereignty over it and has threatened to use military force if it claims independence.

Cryptocurrencies in Taiwan

Taiwan’s new amendments to curb money laundering with cryptocurrencies shouldn’t come as a surprise. Back in April Qiu Taisan, the country’s Justice Minister, called for regulations that would go into effect this month. Their goal is to stop cryptos from being used for illicit activities, and not clampdown on then ascent industry.

Regulators in the country have, in fact, been supportive of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, so much so they have considered allowing convenience stores in the country to facilitate crypto to cash transactions.

During the Asia blockchain Summit in July of this year, in Taipei, Koo revealed the financial watchdog supports blockchain technology’s development, while minister Chin Mei-ling of the National Development Council noted the government would encourage it.

Per Mei-ling, it would be good for Taiwan to become an international hub for blockchain technology. Despite these approaches Yang Chin-long, the governor of Taiwan’s central bank, has said cryptocurrency transactions lack the trust element found in fiat currencies and in the traditional financial system. Says It ‘Does Not Block Cryptocurrency Sites,’ Fixes Links For Andreas Antonopoulos’ Book

On November 3, renowned Bitcoin advocate, Andreas Antonopoulos, took to Twitter to claim that URL shortening service, (Bitly), had blocked crypto-related links from his upcoming book.

Cointelegraph has reached out to Bitly, and learned that the links “had been inadvertently blocked,” while the company has reportedly resolved the issue. Nevertheless, crypto-related bans still exist in mainstream media.

‘Why are you blocking links to cryptocurrency sites?’

Antonopoulos, author of several well-known guides to cryptocurrencies, including “Mastering Bitcoin”, called out Bitly on Twitter, revealing details of the block. The company allegedly blacklisted over 200 links featured in “Mastering Ethereum,” Antonopoulos’ new book, due for publication in around four weeks.

“Why are you blocking links to crypto-currency [sic] sites?” he asked, adding:

“I’m about to publish my fourth book and it has about 200 links in it. If you are going to block links, I will need to remove all 200 and replace them with a competitor[.]”

Responding to his tweet, user Wagner Santana, enclosed a screenshot of what seemed as Bitly blacklisting a link which had been “identified as being potentially problematic by the service.”

Overall, commentators were quick to come to Antonopoulos’ defence, calling for a move away from “centralized” link shorteners, adding:

“Not your keys, not your Bitcoin? Not your (shortener), not your link.”

‘Bitly does not categorically block cryptocurrency sites’: the company disavows rumors

On November 5, Bitly did reply to Antonopoulos’ tweet, claiming that the links were “inadvertently blocked,” and that “the issue was resolved over the weekend.”

“They all should be working now,” the company added.

In response to the Bitly’s explanation, Antonopoulos requested more details regarding the block. Specifically, the “Mastering Bitcoin” author asked the URL shortening service whether the block was triggered by “too many redirects”, third-party reports or a “poorly curated blacklist”, adding:

“What assures me (and the rest of the crypto-currency community) that this won’t happen again? What steps have been taken to ensure it doesn’t?”

The company had left those questions unanswered by press time. However, in a separate tweet, it mentioned that  “no particular filter triggered in this situation.”

A Bitly representative informed Cointelegraph over email that the blacklisting happened accidentally, due to internal security systems, while that the company does not specifically target cryptocurrency sites:

“Recently, we became aware that one of author Andreas M. Antonopoulos’ links had been inadvertently blocked. On occasion, as in this case, our security systems generate false positives. Bitly does not categorically block cryptocurrency sites. Once we were alerted to the issue we unblocked the domain.”

Crypto-related blocks still persist in mainstream social media

Over the past months, both Facebook and Google have reversed their crypto bans, which were originally introduced earlier this year, mainly due to “deceptive promotional practices” among cryptocurrencies and initial coin offering (ICOs) ads.

Therefore, on September 25, U.S. tech giant Google announced that starting in October, it will allow registered cryptocurrency exchanges to advertise on its Google Adwords platform, targeting the U.S. and Japanese audiences.

Facebook, in turn, reversed its ad ban for pre-approved cryptocurrency firms back in June, but maintained the ban on ICO advertisement.

Still, the stigma attached to crypto-related business continues to reappear in mainstream social media, although the Bitly incident has turned out to be a misunderstanding — just a few days ago, for instance, Apple reportedly took down a popular crypto podcast.

The “Off the Chain” podcast was hosted by Morgan Creek Digital partner and crypto analyst Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano, and had apparently been “mysteriously” removed from the U.S. iTunes store on November 5, after allegedly soaring to fourth place for podcasts in the “investing” category. Pompliano tweeted:

“Last week we released a podcast discussing the ultimate argument for Bitcoin. It exploded & ranked #4 in U.S. investing category before mysteriously being taken down by @Apple. We had no warning. We don’t know why. They took down our podcast, but they can’t take down Bitcoin!”